Sightsavers, an esteemed international organization dedicated to preventing avoidable blindness and promoting disability inclusion, has joined forces with DeafTawk, a Pakistani startup committed to improving the lives of deaf individuals, to announce the selection of the inaugural cohort for the Innovation Challenge Futuremakers (ICF) program.
The ICF program, a result of the strategic partnership between Sightsavers and DeafTawk, is an accelerated program designed to cater specifically to the needs of entrepreneurs with disabilities in Pakistan. This unique initiative offers a hybrid experience, blending virtual engagement with valuable offline activities, to provide startups with an unparalleled opportunity for growth and success.
After an extensive evaluation process, which involved the scrutiny of 70 applications by a panel of industry experts, mentors, and entrepreneurs, eight exceptional startups were chosen as part of the first cohort.
These selected startups hail from various regions of Pakistan and represent a diverse range of innovative solutions, poised to make a significant impact in their respective domains. Munazza Gillani, the Country Director of Sightsavers Pakistan Office, expressed her excitement about the program, stating, “The Innovation Challenge Futuremakers is a testament to our commitment to fostering disability inclusion and promoting entrepreneurial spirit among individuals with disabilities. We are excited to witness the transformative journey of these startups and look forward to seeing the positive impact they will create.”
Ali Shabbar, CEO of DeafTawk, also expressed his enthusiasm for the program, saying, “We are delighted to welcome the first cohort of the Innovation Challenge Futuremakers. These startups demonstrate the immense talent and creativity present in the disability entrepreneurship ecosystem in Pakistan. Through the ICF program, we aim to provide the necessary support and resources to empower these entrepreneurs and their ventures to drive positive change.”
The startups comprising the first cohort of the Innovation Challenge Futuremakers are Attendant Service Providers (ASP), Digital Inclusive Library, Fresh N Frozen, HutKarlo, Khaas Foodz, Quadpar Auto Engineering, TailorBird Stitch Studio, and The World of Art.
Equipped with a custom-designed curriculum, mentorship opportunities, networking sessions, access to investment prospects, startup toolkits, and the chance to attend global conferences, the first cohort is embarking on an exciting journey of growth and development. These startups will receive the necessary support to scale their businesses and create a profound social and economic impact.
The Innovation Challenge Futuremakers program sets the stage for a transformative and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan, one that fosters the talents and aspirations of individuals with disabilities and propels them towards creating a better future for themselves and their communities.